Breeding of golden hamsters is classically performed at thermal conditions ranging from 20 to 24 °C. However, growing evidence suggests that lactating females suffer from heat stress. We hypothesised that shaving females dorsally to maximise heat dissipation may reduce stress during reproduction. We thus compared faecal cortisol metabolites (FCM) from shaved golden hamster mothers with those from unshaved controls. We observed significantly lower FCM levels in the shaved mothers (F 1,22 = 8.69, p = 0.0075) pointing to lower stress due to ameliorated heat dissipation over the body surface. In addition, we observed 0.4 °C lower mean subcutaneous body temperatures in the shaved females, although this effect did not reach significance (F 1,22 = 1.86, p = 0.18). Our results suggest that golden hamsters having body masses being more than four times that of laboratory mice provide a very interesting model to study aspects of lactation and heat production at the same time.
Naturwissenschaften – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 15, 2018
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